England rugby star Danny Cipriani 'shocked' over positive drink-drive test

Danny Cipriani Image copyright PA
Image caption The England player denies drink-driving

Rugby star Danny Cipriani was "shocked" when he found out he was over the drink-drive limit following a collision, a court was told.

The England player had drunk two espresso martinis and a glass of champagne less than an hour earlier, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard.

He was said to have had "glazed eyes" and smelt of alcohol when he was arrested after his Mercedes collided with a minicab in London last June.

He denies drinking and driving.

The Wasps fly-half, then playing for Sale Sharks, was breathalysed following the collision shortly after 05:00 BST on 1 June.

He was found to have 67 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The legal limit to drive in England and Wales is 35 micrograms.

'Felt fine'

Giving evidence, the 28-year-old admitted he had been out drinking and eating sushi with other players at Eight Over Eight in Chelsea after an England XV match against Barbarians.

Mr Cipriani, from Raynes Park in south-west London, scored two tries and 10 conversions in the 73-12 win at Twickenham stadium.

The court was told he had two espresso martinis and a vodka cranberry at dinner between 20:30 and midnight, but he said he felt "fine" and was not drunk.

Asked if the meal had lined his stomach, he replied: "Well, we had a lot of rice, some dim sum. I eat a fair bit. We probably had double orders on what we were having."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The rugby player was celebrating an England win when the collision happened

Afterwards, he went to a nightclub for about 30 minutes before going to a friend's house.

"I had three hours sleep, I woke up and I felt all right," he said.

The player left at 04:00 to have breakfast, which consisted of a fry up, a "small champagne flute" and two more espresso martinis. He then got a cab to his car.

The court heard Mr Cipriani looked "crestfallen" when he was arrested after the collision at 05:15 on Imperial Road in Fulham.

He accused the private hire driver, Muhammad Qasim, of hitting his car, which was written off as a result of the collision.

The court heard he was allegedly "slurring" and driving at speed before the crash.

But he denied speeding and added: "I was not drunk, I felt fine."

'Did not seem drunk'

When prosecutor Katie Weiss asked him how he felt about the positive results of road-side test, he replied: "I was shocked at the fact that it was over [the limit]."

The player was then asked about the impact a conviction would have on his career.

He replied that it would be difficult for him to get to training and that it depended on the coach as to whether it would stop him playing for England.

Defending, Philip Lucas said the player had been cautioned in the past, for having an "article with intent to damage or destroy property". He said the item had been an egg.

The court was also read a statement from Mr Cipriani's England team-mate, Christian Wade, who confirmed the drinks Mr Cipriani claimed to have had, but said the vodka was consumed at the second venue, not at dinner.

"I know Danny well and he did not seem drunk to me at all. If he had, I would have called him a cab."

Senior District Judge Howard Riddle has reserved judgment until 24 June, telling Mr Cipriani: "I really have got to think about this. That is why I can't give you an answer today - I regret that."

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